36 Fun Things to Do in Sacramento | 2024 (with Photos)

Mary Adelana

Mary Adelana - Travel Writer

Published: June 29, 2023

Hey there! I'm Mary, your guide to the best things to do in Sacramento based on my personal experiences in this vibrant city. Get ready to embark on a memorable journey with 36 fun activities accompanied by captivating photos in my article "36 Fun Things to Do in Sacramento | 2024."

California State Capitol Museum

Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California, located in the northern central part of the state, and is one of the oldest cities in California.

The city is situated at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River and is known for its rich history, cultural diversity, and bustling urban atmosphere.

The city hosts many cultural events throughout the year, including the Sacramento Music Festival, the California State Fair, and the Sacramento International Film Festival.

Whether you're interested in exploring the city's museums and historic landmarks, enjoying its many cultural events, or simply taking in the urban atmosphere, Sacramento has something for everyone.

Let's explore Sacramento together, and see what this beautiful town can offer:

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Visit the California State Capitol Museum

Top Choice Hotel

Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel

Our Top Choice Restaurant

The Kitchen

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Mango's Sacramento

Best Time to Visit

Mild weather, spring and fall are ideal.

Average Temperature

Sacramento's average temperature is generally warm and mild.

Transportation Options

Buses, light rail, bikes, scooters, ride sharing, walking

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Old Sacramento Historic District is an absolute must. Stepping into this beautiful area feels like stepping back in time, as you stroll through the cobblestone streets and admire the well-preserved 19th-century buildings. From unique boutiques and art galleries to cozy cafes and delicious restaurants, there's something for everyone.

And the stunning American River Parkway. This expansive park offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, as you immerse yourself in nature's beauty. Whether you're up for a leisurely hike, a bike ride along the scenic trails, or simply a relaxing picnic by the river, the American River Parkway has it all.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Valid identification (e.g., passport or driver's license)
  2. Comfortable walking shoes
  3. Appropriate clothing for the weather
  4. Travel adapter for electrical devices
  5. Cash and/or credit cards
  6. Travel insurance
  7. Personal toiletries and medication
  8. Guidebooks or maps for navigation
  9. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
  10. Snacks and water for on-the-go sustenance

What Not to Miss

  1. California State Capitol Building
  2. Old Sacramento
  3. Crocker Art Museum
  4. Tower Bridge
  5. Sutter's Fort State Historic Park
  6. American River Bike Trail
  7. California State Railroad Museum
  8. Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
  9. Raging Waters Sacramento
  10. Sacramento Zoo

What to Avoid

  1. High-crime areas
  2. Rush hour traffic
  3. Extreme heat
  4. Unkempt city parks
  5. Panhandling and aggressive solicitation
  6. Late-night downtown areas
  7. Restricted parking areas
  8. Drinking in public places
  9. Disrespecting local customs and traditions
  10. Going over the speed limit

1. Take A Visit To Old Sacramento State Historic Park

Old Sacramento State Historic Park

The Sacramento State Historic Park is a 28-acre outdoor museum that preserves and interprets Sacramento's Gold Rush and early California history.

Sacramento State Historic Park is located in the heart of Sacramento and consists of several historic buildings, including the Eagle Theater, the B. F. Hastings Building, and the Big Four Building.

Visitors can take guided tours of the various buildings, which are furnished with period items and provide a vivid look into the city's past. In addition to the historic buildings, the park also features beautiful gardens, picnic areas, and walking trails.

The park is open year-round and admission is free, although there may be a small fee for guided tours.

2. Step Back In Time At The California State Railroad Museum

California State Railroad Museum

The California State Railroad Museum is located in Old Sacramento State Historic Park. It is dedicated to the history of railroads in California and the American West.

The California State Railroad Museum houses one of the most extensive collections of railroad artifacts and memorabilia in North America. The museum's collection includes historic locomotives such as the Southern Pacific Railroad's "C.P. Huntington" and the Central Pacific Railroad's "Gov. Stanford,".

The California State Railroad Museum features over 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, filled with restored locomotives and train cars, interactive exhibits, and educational displays.

At the California State Railroad Museum, Visitors can climb aboard many of the trains and explore the interiors, including sleeping cars, dining cars, and even an old-fashioned caboose.

Other highlights of the collection include vintage railroad equipment, photographs, California art, and model train displays.

3. Step Back in Time at the California State Capitol Museum

California State Capitol Museum

The California State Capitol Museum is located in the State Capitol building in Capitol Park. The museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of California's state government and the State Capitol Building itself.

The exhibits at the California State Capitol Museum explore the state's political and social history, including its early Native American communities, the California Gold Rush, and the state's contributions to American culture and innovation.

The California State Capitol Museum also features exhibits about the State Capitol Building and the architecture and artwork that make it a landmark of California.

Visitors to the museum can take guided tours of the State Capitol building, which include a visit to the Governor's Office, the historic legislative chambers, and the Capitol Park.

4. Time Travel to the 1800s at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

Sutter's Fort State Historic Park is a California historical landmark located in Sacramento, California. The park is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of Sutter's Fort, which was built in 1839 by Swiss pioneer John Sutter as a trading post and agricultural settlement.

The Sutter's Fort played a pivotal role in California's history, serving as a refuge for pioneers, a center of commerce, and a hub for the Gold Rush. Today, the park features a reconstructed version of the original fort, complete with period-appropriate furnishings, tools, and equipment.

Visitors can take guided tours of the fort and explore its many exhibits, which include displays about life in early California and the cultural heritage of the state's Native American communities.

Do not confuse the fort with Sutter Health Park, which is the home of the Sacramento River Cats baseball team.

5. Meet the Giraffes at the Sacramento Zoo

Giraffes at the Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is a popular destination for families and animal lovers in Sacramento, California. More than 500 animals live in the Sacramento Zoo, and these animals represent over 120 species from around the world.

You can visit lions, tigers, giraffes, zebras, orangutans, and many more exotic animals at Sacramento Zoo. Moreover, the zoo offers interactive experiences with the animals, such as giraffe feedings and behind-the-scenes tours.

Another zoo in the Sacramento area is the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary.

6. A Sacramento River Cruise

Sacramento River Cruise

The Historic River Cruise is a popular attraction in Sacramento, California that offers visitors a unique way to experience the city's history and architecture. This cruise takes passengers on a leisurely 1-hour ride along the Sacramento River, providing a scenic view of the city's historic waterfront district and national historic landmarks.

The cruise also highlights some of the most significant buildings and landmarks along the river, including the Tower Bridge, the I Street Bridge, the California State Capitol building, and Old Sacramento State Historic Park.

You can also opt for a cheese and wine river cruise if you prefer to unwind and relax on the water.

7. Explore King Arthur's Castle at Fairytale Town

King Arthur's Castle at Fairytale Town

Fairytale Town is a popular children's park located in Sacramento, California. Fairytale Town was founded in 1959 and is designed to resemble a village from fairytales, featuring 25 different playsets and attractions based on popular fairytales and nursery rhymes.

Some of the best attractions in Fairytale Town include the Three Little Pigs' houses, Cinderella's carriage, Jack and Jill's Hill, and Alice in Wonderland's Maze.

Moreover, King Arthur's Castle is one of the most popular attractions in Fairytale Town. This children's amusement park is fun for the whole family, as parents get a kick out of their children's fantasies coming to life.

The castle in Fairytale Town is based on the legendary court of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and is designed to look like a medieval castle, complete with turrets, towers, and a drawbridge.

8. EnhanceYour Trip at the Crocker Art Museum

Crocker Art Museum

The Crocker Art Museum is a prominent museum located in Sacramento, California. Founded in 1885, it is the oldest public art museum west of the Mississippi River and is widely recognized as one of the premier art institutions in the region.

The Crocker Art Museum is located in Sacramento's historic district and is easily accessible from other downtown attractions like the State Capitol and Old Sacramento State Historic Park.

Whether you're a lifelong art enthusiast or just looking for a fun and educational outing, the Crocker Art Museum is definitely worth a visit.

9. Stop by the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in downtown, California. It is the mother church of the Diocese of Sacramento and one of the most prominent landmarks in the city.

One of the highlights of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is its impressive dome, which rises 172 feet above the sanctuary and is topped with a gold cross.

The dome of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is visible from much of downtown and is a popular spot for photographers and tourists.

10. Check out Vintage Rides at the California Automobile Museum

California Automobile Museum

Located south of Old Sacramento on the same bank of the Sacramento River lies the California Automobile Museum. This is a non-profit museum located in Sacramento, California, dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of the automobile.

The California Automobile Museum features over 150 cars and vehicles spanning over a century of automotive history.

The collection at the California Automobile Museum includes everything from vintage horseless carriages to classic muscle cars and modern supercars.

11. Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park

Leland Stanford Mansion

The Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park is a national historic landmark located in downtown Sacramento, California. The mansion is a stunning example of the Italianate architectural style.

Visit this stunning building to gaze in awe at the wide range of architectural details, including ornate ironwork, frescoed ceilings, and marble fireplaces.

The Leland Stanford mansion also boasts beautiful gardens and grounds, which were designed in the style of an English country estate.

12. Sacramento Heritage Self-Guided Walking Tours

Sacramento Heritage Self-Guided Walking Tours

The Sacramento Heritage Self-Guided Walking Tours are a series of self-guided tours that allow visitors to explore the historic neighborhoods and landmarks of Sacramento, California on foot.

These tours are designed to showcase the city's rich history and cultural heritage, highlighting its diverse architecture, notable landmarks, and important cultural institutions.

13. McKinley Park and Rose Garden

Rose Garden

McKinley Park and Rose Garden is a beautiful public park located in the heart of East Sacramento, California. As you may guess, McKinley Park is named after former US President William McKinley.

The park spans over 32 acres of lush green space. One of the main attractions in McKinley Park is the beautiful rose garden, which features over 1,200 rose bushes of over 100 varieties.

14. Catch a Live Show at the B Street Theatre

B Street Theatre

The Sofia is home to the B Street Theatre, a professional theater company located in Sacramento, California. It was founded in 1986 by Timothy Busfield and his brother Buck Busfield.

Over the years, the theater has become a beloved cultural institution in Sacramento, known for its high-quality productions and commitment to promoting new works and supporting emerging artists.

The B Street Theatre produces a wide range of plays and musicals, from classic works to contemporary productions, with a focus on showcasing new and innovative works.

15. The American River Trail (Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail)

The American River Trail

The American River Bike Trail, also known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, is a popular recreational trail in Sacramento, California. This bike trail runs for 32 miles between Discovery Park and Beal's Point.

The American River Bike Trail follows the course of the American River from downtown Sacramento to Folsom and offers stunning views of the water, the surrounding landscape, and the city.

The American River Bike trail is popular among cyclists, runners, walkers, and nature enthusiasts. Look out for signs for the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail if you are in town and feel like some light exercise.

16. Learn about Sacramento history at the Eagle Theater

Eagle Theater

The Eagle Theater is a historic theater located in Old Sacramento, California.

It was built in 1849 and is considered to be one of the oldest standing theater buildings in the Western United States.

The Eagle Theater played an important role in the cultural and social life of Sacramento during the Gold Rush era and beyond.

17. California State Indian Museum State Historic Park

California State Indian Museum

The California State Indian Museum State Historic Park is a small but fascinating museum located in Sacramento, California.

California State Indian Museum State Historic Park is dedicated to the history and culture of California's Native American tribes, with a particular focus on the Maidu, Miwok, and Nisenan peoples who lived in the Sacramento Valley and surrounding areas.

The California State Indian Museum State Historic Park is housed in a historic building that was originally constructed in the 1850s as a store and boarding house for gold miners.

18. Raging Waters and Roseville Golfland SunSplash

Raging Waters

Raging Waters is a large water park located in San Jose, about two hours south of Sacramento.

The park features dozens of water slides and attractions, including a wave pool, lazy river, and a variety of water slides for visitors of all ages and skill levels.

One of the park's most popular attractions is the Dragon's Den, a thrilling ride that sends riders down a steep drop into a dark tunnel before shooting them out into a pool below.

19. Scandia Family Fun Center

Scandia Family Fun Center

Scandia Family Fun Center is a popular amusement park located in Sacramento, California.

The park features a variety of fun and exciting attractions for visitors of all ages, including go-karts, mini-golf, batting cages, arcade games, and more.

One of the most popular attractions at Scandia Family Fun Center is the park's go-kart track.

The track features a variety of different courses, including a challenging "Slick Track" for more experienced drivers and a special "Kiddie Track" for younger children.

20. Cross the historic Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is an iconic suspension bridge that spans the Sacramento River in Sacramento, California.

The bridge was built in 1935 and connects the downtown area of Sacramento with the city of West Sacramento.

The Tower Bridge is a prominent landmark in the Sacramento area and is often photographed by visitors to the city.

21. Drink as you pedal on a Sac Brew Bike

Sac Brew Bike

The Sac Brew Bikes are a unique and fun way to explore the craft beer scene in Sacramento. They are 15-passenger bikes that are powered by pedaling, with the addition of an electric motor to assist riders in case they need it.

Your Sac Brew Bike bike is designed with a bar in the middle, where riders can enjoy their favorite brews while pedaling through the city. The Sac Brew Bike offers several different tours of Sacramento's craft beer scene, with stops at local breweries, bars, and restaurants.

22. Spend the Perfect Day Trip on Apple Hill

Apple Hill

Apple Hill is a popular destination located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, about an hour's drive from Sacramento.

It is known for its picturesque scenery, family-friendly activities, and, of course, its abundance of apple orchards.

During the fall months, Apple Hill becomes a hub for apple-related activities such as apple picking, apple cider tasting, and apple baked goods.

23. Wine-Tasting at the Old Sugar Mill

Old Sugar Mill

The Old Sugar Mill is a historic sugar refinery turned wine-tasting destination located in the town of Clarksburg, just south of Sacramento.

The building dates back to the early 1900s and has been beautifully restored, featuring exposed brick walls, original industrial machinery, and stunning arched windows.

Visitors to the Old Sugar Mill can take part in guided wine tastings, which allow them to sample a variety of wines from multiple wineries in one convenient location.

24. Sacramento Music Festival at Discovery Park

Sacramento Music Festival

The Sacramento Music Festival is an annual event that takes place in the heart of downtown Sacramento. The festival, which is typically held over Memorial Day weekend, features a wide variety of live music performances, from jazz and blues to rock and country.

The Sacramento Music Festival attracts thousands of visitors each year, who come to enjoy the music, food, and lively atmosphere.

25. The West Wind Sacramento Drive-In

West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-In

The West Wind Sacramento Drive-In is a popular outdoor movie theater located in Sacramento, California. The drive-in is one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the state and has been in operation since the 1970s.

The West Wind Sacramento Drive-In features four large screens, each showing a different movie. Visitors can tune their car radios to the designated FM frequency to hear the movie audio.

26. Hop Around the City's Best Bars

Dive Bar

The city center of Sacramento, California is known for its lively bar scene. There are numerous bars, pubs, and nightclubs in the area, catering to a wide range of tastes and preferences. You can find plenty of enjoyable evening activities in Sacramento.

Some of the popular bars in Sacramento's city center include the Dive Bar, which features a rooftop lounge and live mermaid performances, and the Shady Lady Saloon, a prohibition-style bar with craft cocktails and live music.

27. Explore Downtown Sacramento

Sierra Nevada Mountains

Downtown Sacramento, California is the historic heart of the city and a hub of activity and entertainment. The area is rich in history, having played a significant role in the California Gold Rush, and is home to several notable landmarks and attractions.

One of the most prominent features of downtown Sacramento is the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, a non-profit organization that provides food and support to those in need.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains, located just east of downtown Sacramento, offer a picturesque backdrop to the city. The mountains are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with hiking, skiing, and other activities available throughout the year.

Downtown Sacramento is also well-connected to other major cities in California, including San Francisco, which is located just 90 miles to the southwest.

28. Visit Sacramento History Museum

Sacramento History Museum

The Sacramento History Museum is a popular destination in Old Sacramento, CA, that celebrates the city's rich history and culture.

The Sacramento History Museum features a range of exhibits and displays that showcase the city's past, including its role in the Gold Rush, the development of its agricultural industry, and the evolution of its transportation systems.

This is one of the best things to do in Sacramento, CA for history lovers.

29. Go to a Sacramento Kings Game

Sacramento Kings Game

The Sacramento Kings are a professional basketball team based in Sacramento, CA. The Kings play their home games at the Golden 1 Center, a state-of-the-art arena located in downtown Sacramento.

The arena features world-class amenities and cutting-edge technology, making it one of the premier sports venues in the country and one of the best things to do in Sacramento, CA if you love basketball.

Moreover, the venue hosts big concerts by stars like Lizzo and Blink 182.

30. Visit Crest Theatre

Crest Theatre

The Crest Theatre is a historic movie theater and performing arts venue located in downtown Sacramento, California. Originally opened in 1912 as the Empress Theatre, it was renamed the Crest Theatre in the 1940s and has since become a beloved institution in the city.

The Crest Theatre has a rich history, having played host to a wide range of events over the years, from movie screenings and live performances to political rallies and community gatherings. This is a must-see spot in Sacramento, CA.

31. Explore the California Museum

California Museum

The California Museum, also known as the California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts, is a museum located in Sacramento, CA.

The museum's mission is to celebrate the diverse cultures and history of California and its people, with a particular focus on the contributions of women and other underrepresented groups.

The California Museum is one of the most important things to do in Sacramento, CA for learning about unrepresented and marginalized people in society.

32. Take a Day Trip to Quarry Park in Northern California

Quarry Park

Quarry Park is a popular recreational area located in the city of Rocklin, Northern California. The park is situated on 17 acres of land and features a range of outdoor activities and attractions.

One of the highlights of Quarry Park is the historic granite quarries that can be found throughout the park. If you are looking for some time in the great outdoors, this is one of the best things to do in Sacramento, CA.

33. Sacramento Children's Museum

Sacramento Children's Museum

Located just outside of the city of Sacramento, in Rancho Corvoda, this immersive play environment is ideal for children aged up to 12. This museum is perfect for a day of indoor family fun in California, especially on a hot summer day.

The Sacramento Children's Museum is free to kids under 1 year old. For people aged 1 to 60, it costs 9.50 USD, meanwhile, people over 60 and military personnel can enter for a reduced price of 7.50 USD.

34. Old Town Sacramento and Midtown Sacramento

Old Town Sacramento

Old Sacramento is a historic district in Sacramento, California, that was once a bustling commercial and transportation hub during the mid-19th century.

The Old Sacramento district is now a popular tourist destination and is listed on the California Historical Landmark Register of Historic Places.

35. 2nd Saturday Art Walk

2nd Saturday Art Walk

In Sacramento, the 2nd Saturday Art Walk is a popular event that takes place on the second Saturday of each month. During this event, galleries and art spaces in the city's downtown and midtown areas open their doors to the public, showcasing local and regional artists' works.

Many of the galleries and art spaces also offer free refreshments and live music to enhance the experience. If you happen to be in Sacramento during one of these magical Saturdays, you should make the most of the free access to art. This event takes place between 5 pm and 9 pm.

36. Visit UC Davis Arboretum and William Land Park

William Land Park

The UC Davis Arboretum is a 100-acre botanical garden located on the campus of the University of California, Davis. The arboretum was founded in 1936 and is home to over 22,000 trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world.

The arboretum is divided into several different gardens, each with its own unique theme and collection of plants.

William Land Park is a large public park located in the city of Sacramento, California. The park covers over 166 acres and is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. William Land Park features a wide range of amenities, including picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, and walking paths.

FAQs Regarding Things to Do in Sacramento

Let's look at the most frequently asked questions relating to things to do in Sacramento.

How can I spend a day in Sacramento?

Start your morning by visiting the California State Capitol, where you can explore the beautiful grounds and learn about the state's political history. From there, take a leisurely stroll along the scenic Sacramento Riverfront, enjoying the views and perhaps hopping on a riverboat cruise. Cap off your day by sampling delicious farm-to-fork cuisine at one of Sacramento's renowned restaurants.

What is Sacramento famous for?

Sacramento is famous for being the capital city of California, as well as a historic and beautiful town. The Old Sacramento State Historic Park is now a National Historic Landmark. You can also visit the famous Sutter's Fort State Historic Park and the California State Indian Museum to appreciate the history and beauty of Sacramento, CA more fully.

Is it worth visiting Sacramento?

Sacramento is definitely worth visiting. There are so many things to do in Sacramento, CA, from visiting the California Automobile Museum and the Crocker Art Museumacramen to meeting all the animals at Sacramento Zoo and even a day trip to San Francisco. A vacation to Sacramento, CA is totally worth the journey.

Why is Sacramento a tourist destination?

Sacramento is a popular tourist destination for several reasons including its historic attractions and sporting events. People used to come to Sacramento for the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee festival, but even with the festival's end, there are a ton more things to do in Sacramento, CA that make it a great tourist destination. For instance, the Aftershock Music Festival is in October 2024.

Summing Up: Fun Things to Do in Sacramento, California

As you can see, Sacramento offers plenty of things to do while in California. You can explore the American River Bike Trail, visit the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, or spend an afternoon at the Crocker Art Museum on a rare rainy day.

The city offers a unique blend of history, culture, and outdoor activities, to sink your teeth into. With its great weather, friendly people, and wide range of attractions, Sacramento is an ideal destination for anyone looking to experience the best that California has to offer.

With that in mind, pack your bags and head over to this sunny California town.